Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark was the keynote speaker at the Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Chattanooga, being held December 7-9.
Justice Clark noted many highlights in the last four years of the program, including the name change from drug court to recovery courts to reflect broader services being provided to meet clients’ needs, and the increase in the number and types of courts.
She also spoke about the increase in legislative support and the continued importance in educating legislators on the cost savings and rehabilitation potential in this model. She acknowledged the continued support by judges at all levels, as they come to understand the important role they play in the program’s success. Finally, she closed her talk by thanking all of the professionals who work with offenders with addiction and/or mental health issues to once again become, “the best persons they can be, so that they will be productive citizens in our communities.”
Justice Clark has been a longtime supporter of the drug court model, appearing at both the 2009 and 2012 conferences.
Since 2003 drug courts, now known more commonly as recovery courts in Tennessee, have offered intensive supervision, substance abuse treatment services, and other incentives to address the unique needs of drug-addicted, non-violent offenders. A number of these courts also serve veterans and people with mental health issues.